Understanding What Human Error Is And Mitigating It

30-Apr-2019 16:10 PM

A workplace accident may seem random and unpredictable. However, it is seldom a ‘blue moon’ event. 

Often there is an element of human error which if it was properly addressed, may have mitigated or prevented the accident.

People are sometimes negligent; they can get tired; they can be distracted or stressed and make bad decisions or fail to perform a crucial task. In many instances, people are not properly trained on workplace safety resulting in a workplace injury.

If this describes a recent scenario at your company, read on and learn more about human error and how you can mitigate it.

Human Error is Inevitable

As the common saying goes, ‘to err is human.’ Therefore, as long as you depend on people to sustain your enterprise, an error shouldn’t be completely off from your mind. Always keep in mind that ‘to err is human.’

In fact, researchers say that between 70 and 95 per cent of workplace mistakes are as a result of human error. And, complacency to human error with regard to workplace health and safety can lead to disaster.  

Human error may be inevitable; however, you can change the workplace environment and make it as failsafe as possible. One way of achieving this is by enrolling for OHSAS certification in Singapore. This way, you’ll change the environment and, in turn, minimise the occurrence and impact of human error.

Mistakes by People are Complex and Don’t Intend to Harm

Mistakes can be explained by a myriad of reasons and root causes which are often justified by complex logic. It is certain that mistakes often bring unexpected negative outcomes. 

However, human error is not premeditated and is not intended to harm. On the contrary, a premeditated ‘error’ that intends to harm is sabotage. Including a culture of safety awareness in your business excellence framework goes a long way in reducing the root causes of error.

Human Error is Often Not Due to an Excluded Individual Failure

When a human error occurs, a discerning business leader will not look at it as an isolated case of individual failure. However, it is an indication of broader systemic failures. Often human error manifests in the form of poor decisions.

However, an individual will not willfully fail to act or make a poor decision but may do so because they are subject to a decision-making process or environment that can cultivate errors. A bad decision may be due to lack of training, or a stressful environment. Thus, there’s a need to evaluate the bigger picture and address systemic issues.

Lastly, Addressing Human Error by Assigning Blame is Not Helpful

Despite companies being more aware of these attributes of human error today than ever before, they still fail to address it substantively. This is because many business heads often clutch at the blame approach when addressing human error.

Blame triggers fear which in turn devours talent loyalty and ultimately the staff’s productivity and creativity.

Instead, companies should institute systemic reviews of human error. This will enable them to address it substantively by creating a culture of safety through training.

OHSAS 18001 certification enables you to instil a safety mindset in the design process, enhance open communications and to report on safety issues.